Free Minds & Free Markets

Donald Trump and Social Justice Warriors Are 'Unmaking America': Podcast

Noah Rothman says the right and the left are using appeals to victimization and identity politics to gain political power.

"The American tradition of political idealism," writes Noah Rothman in his new book Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America, "is imperiled by a growing obsession with the demographic categories of race, sex, ethnicity, and sexual orientation—the primary categories that are now supposed to constitute 'identity.'"

While phrases such as social justice and identity politics are usually identified with the progressive left, Rothman, an associate editor at Commentary and a contributor to MSNBC, argues provocatively that the rise of Donald Trump shows "victimization has bipartisan appeal."

In today's Reason Podcast, I talk with the 37-year-old journalist about the roots of identity politics, the rise of street violence among alt-right and antifa types, and how we might restore belief in an inclusive, forward-looking America built around common ideals rather than bitter enmity.

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Photo Credit: Nick Gillespie, Reason

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  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "is imperiled by a growing obsession with the demographic categories of race, sex, ethnicity, and sexual orientation—the primary categories that are now supposed to constitute 'identity.'"

    This book sounds seriously problematic and alt-right.

  • Ryan (formally HFTO)||


  • John||

    If Rothaman thinks Trump represents the rise of white identity politics, he is an idiot of the first order. If anything Trump is the country's last chance to prevent the rise of white identity politics.

    Donald Trump is not a white nationalist. He is a nationalist. As such, he represents the idea that the voters of this country have a right to expect their government to act in their best interests and not at their expense in pursuit of loftier principles or goals.

    Noah only claims Trump is a white nationalist because he associates nationalism with the dreaded and evil "white working class". Appearently, Noah thinks no black person ever worked in a factory and only evil low class white people could ever have a problem with mass immigration.

    The irony of idiots like Noah is that if his view of the world wins out and nationalism is seen as some sort of evil creature of the white working class and comes to be associated with race and the government continues to tell large numbers of its citizens to go fuck themselves and die and how it is their responsibility to suffer for dickheads like Noah's "principles" we really will see a rise of white nationalism and it will get ugly. And Noah will have no idea or any self awareness of how he helped bring that about.

  • Ray McKigney||

    Donald Trump is not a white nationalist. He is a nationalist.

    The Left and the MSM (but I repeat myself) have been doing their damnedest to make "nationalism" a dirty word by constantly sticking "white" in front of it.

    Come to think of it, the Dems tried to do the same thing to Republicans in the 1850s, by constantly calling them "Black" Republicans.

    Mind blown.

  • John||

    It is so smug and racist. Why can't a black person be a nationalist or think we are getting a raw deal on international trade? Why is is always the "white working class"? Does Nick and this Rothman douchebag think only white people work for a living? They must.

  • Ray McKigney||

    Exactly. Flooding the country with unskilled immigrants screws the black working class just the same as the white working class. Growth-stunting taxes and regulations screw the black working class just the same as the white working class.

  • M.L.||

    Right. And yet these clowns pretend that they are for the working classes? No, they're just communists who want everyone to be dependent on government.

    It's impossible to overstate how much better a job is for the well-being of a person than a welfare check.

  • John||

    Or how important job security and optimism about your pospects are in getting people to value freedom. These dumb asses would import millions of people such that everyone except a very few elite was only secure in their job and livelyhood so long as there wasn't someone in the world more desparate and willing to do their job. Lets create a system where no one has any leverage over their employer and can be replaced by a lower paid immigrant at any time and then wonder why people turn to socialism and the government for security. Lets just yell at them and call them bums. That will fix it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    ' Why is is always the "white working class"? '

    The Deep State Globalists associate the white working class with things they want you to hate because they've been prepping you for decades to hate the white working class.

    And it's not just on the Left.

    Kevin Williamson of National Review NR wrote of white working class communities:
    "The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die."

    Bill Kristol: White Working Class Should Be Replaced by Immigrants

  • ThomasD||

    They sure loved them some Hillbilly Elegy.

  • M.L.||

    Curtis Yarvin:

    German nationalism - bad. Italian nationalism - good in the 19th century, bad in the 20th century. Polish nationalism good, German nationalism bad. Black nationalism good, white nationalism, bad. What gives?
  • buybuydandavis||

    All hail Moldbug!

  • ThomasD||

    Italian nationalism was 'good' in the 19th Century largely because of what it did to the Papal States.

    Ironically (no, not really) the issue was only resolved in 1929, thanks to Benito Mussolini.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Why does anyone think Trump doesn't like blacks? He has lots of black friends, appears to treat black people well, and even sued to end racist restrictions at one of his country clubs.

    He's hardly a saint, but he certainly displays no racist behavior. Other than not bowing before a the insane progtard agenda.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Why does anyone think Trump doesn't like blacks?"

    Might have something to do with the MSM calling him a Hitler Nazi Klansman 24/7 for the last 3 years.

  • rhondacivic||

    I tell this to people but it falls on deaf ears. All my peers who ask how I could possibly align myself with racist, sexist, homophobes as a black lesbian never hear me when I tell them that even frustrated working class whites today are not yet en masse blaming specific classes of people (except gays) for things that go wrong in this country, they are still by and large blaming "democrats" and the left. But if we keep insisting that they are horrible.... they will be, because playing the identity politics game will have proven itself to be the only way to get what you want, even if it's just a simple life left alone. And if you really want to know how clueless they are about the fragility of their situation, ask me how many fully believe that the lgbt+ and disjointed, voluntarily disarmed minority coalition will actually win a civil war or revolution against the majority, gun-owning, military-joining whites.

  • Fancylad||

    the rise of white identity politics
    This is the direct result of the left creating a "white" identity. If you keep on screaming about "white people", eventually the people you are referring to are going to start seeing themselves as white, and looking for protections from your vitriol.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Donald Trump is not a white nationalist. He is a nationalist. As such, he represents the idea that the voters of this country have a right to expect their government to act in their best interests and not at their expense in pursuit of loftier principles or goals."

    Civic nationalist.
    Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Obviously a Nazi.

    "Noah only claims Trump is a white nationalist because he associates nationalism with the dreaded and evil "white working class". "

    I love the juxtaposition of "Hate Whitey NOW!", "Oh noes! Whitey is starting to play identity politics too!", "It's all the civic nationalist's fault!"

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Progtards comfusedly think having pride in one's country makes one hate non white people, because reasons.

  • ||

    I don't see Trump that way at all.

    This is more 'they do it too!' BS.

    Trump appeals, I bet, moderates more than people care to think.

    I just use my own personal experience. A lifelong 'swing' voter here in Canada, I've been forced into the conservative camp because the left are unhinged lunatics. Bernier's emergence was perfect timing giving people who can't stand the left-wing identity politics of the Liberals/NDP an alternative to the Tories.

    Of course, the same people as in this article have disingenuously tagged him as 'alt-right'.

    Here's the irony. There's room in these camps for everyone. On the other side? Not so much.

  • Ryan (formally HFTO)||

    Both sides dude, you know the rules around here

  • ||

    To be sure.

  • Nardz||

    "Both sides" is what progressives say when they know they're wrong

  • JWatts||

    "Trump appeals, I bet, moderates more than people care to think."

    Trump won the election. Nick Gillespie still can't wrap his head around it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Russians *stole* the election for Trump!

    Russia! Russia! Russia!

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    It's not "unmasking America". Trump has the support of maybe 20-25% of the country. The social justice left is maybe 10% - noisy as fuck but still a small minority amplified by social media. The rest of the country is somewhere in between, and the plurality (and maybe even the majority) of people are tuning all the bullshit out.

  • John||

    Trump's latest job approval ratings are 52%. And he won in the upper 40s in the election.

  • ||

    I think the aggregate is around 43%. Isn't the 52% number from Rasmussen?

  • John||

    Yes. And Rasmussen has generally not been kind to Trump over the years despite being considered a more pro Republican poll.

  • M.L.||

    Trump's approval has just surged up significantly across the board. Politico/Morning Consult, Gallup, Rasmussen, Hill/Harris.

  • buybuydandavis||


  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Trump's latest job approval ratings are 52%. And he won in the upper 40s in the election."

    Among people that bothered to vote for either shitshow and among people that give enough of a shit about either shitshow to answer a poll. Which is about half the population. 40% - 52% among 50% of the population is 20% - 25% of the country. That's where my number came from, although I admit I was approximating.

    And the SJW left is very noisy, but the vast majority of the country considers them to be batshit loco.

  • John||

    you can no more assume that they didn't support Trump if they didn't vote than you can assume they did. You don't know what those people think. Indeed, whatever it is, it doesn't matter since only the opinions of those who vote are all we can know or count.

  • moneyshot||

    Trump's aggregate is 43% on Real Clear Politics.

    The recent cold snap has left John's lips frozen onto Trump's ass.

  • John||

    Yes, you hate Trump. You have successfully virtue signaled your membership in the thoughtful class. Now run along and let the adults talk for a while.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Money's not..........must represent what happens when the two guys pull out of each both ends and spray him.

  • Mr. JD||

    I wish you were right, but you are very wrong. SJW dogma is echoed by a large majority of those who vote Democrat.

  • John||

    And a lot of people who vote Libertarian and Republican. All of the reason staff, for example, buy into transgenderism. SJW dogma is endemic across society.

  • ||

    Man, I need to pay closer attention. They buy into it?

  • John||

    Yeah. They don't support government mandates on private entities but I have never seen a reason writer object to the principles of it and Shackford is vehimently in support of all government facilities catering to the transgendered even at the expense of those who object.

  • ||

    Then they wonder why Trump resonates.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    All this stuff is what happens when hippies stop receiving beatings in response to their lame ideas.

  • Man from Earth||

    I would estimate that 10% is vastly over generous for the social justice left.
    The vast majority of people in America and the rest of the western world just want to be left the hell alone and not have either government or radical assholes telling them how to live.
    As for Trump being alt-right, that claim has been shoved in our faces for the last 3 years. It is an onerous, venomous claim and used purely to shut down any alternative views to the radical SJW leftists. In truth, Trump has done far more than any other president in the last 50 years to lift Americans of every ethnicity out of poverty. The radical left just want the minorities to continue to blame all whites when their shitty lives don't work out they way they wanted. They want minorities to bask in their poverty knowing it is 'not their own fault' that they are still poor because white men have purposely 'kept them down'. You cannot help these people. They are brainwashing into demanding the world does something to lift them up instead of doing stuff for themselves.
    Leftist scumbags need these people to stay in poverty because they portray the illusion that only 'they' can help them, that only 'they' care about them. The only thing leftists care about is making everyone equally poor because it is impossible to make everyone equally rich. That is the only way everyone will become equal in their retarded philosophy.

  • Juice||

    Noah Rothman says the right and the left are using appeals to victimization and identity politics to gain political power.

    It's called demagoguery and it's as old as time.

  • John||

    And one man's victim is another man's legitimate cause. Rothman doesn't bother to explain what makes someone's claim being a victim and what makes a claim legitimate in his eyes other than whether he agrees with the person making the claim.

    Are their times when people falsely claim to be a victim to advance their interests? Sure. But there are also times when people use the charge of being a victim to dismiss a legitimate concern. I guess it is news to Rothman that yes there really are victims out there.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The essence of postmodernism is that there is no territory, there are only maps of it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Identity politics has been a social liberal project, and there was very little pushback against it until some elements of the right decided that if those were the rules, then two can play that game.

    It was action and reaction, but the concern is still largely on the reaction ration than what it is responding to.

  • John||

    You cannot have a system where every group but one gets to play identity politics. You can but it won't last. Eventually the one group is going to get tired of it and start doing the same thing.

    Ironically people like Rothman play their own form of identity politics only it is based on class more than race. Rothman rejects white identity politcs and treats it as a greater threat than other identity politics as a way of asserting his moral and class superiority over working class whites. Most of the conversation about race in this country is just among whites where upper class whties like Rothman assert their moral and class status over other whites.

  • Man from Earth||

    White people in America are the vast majority. Any republican who wants to win election should just point to the left and how they are trying to shame whites into voting for them. There is not one single white American who has ever owned a slave. Why should the current generation be made to feel guilty for the sins of their ancestors. Slavery ended in the 19th century. How many generations must this guilt forced upon. This is way beyond pathetic

  • moneyshot||

    Trump is a populist and a hallmark of populism is a "We Are Victims" by those other people mentality.

  • John||

    Populist doesn't mean "appeals to people I don't like". So no, Trump isn't a populist by any ordinary meaning of the word.

  • Nardz||

    Populist, to me, would be aptly described as someone who appeals to a broad base upon pragmatic, rather than ideological, interests.
    In that sense, Trump is a populist - but unlike the pretentious class, I dont think there's anything wrong with that.
    Indeed, it's Trump's pragmatic over ideological approach that I find appealing.
    I don't need a president to virtue signal and tell me how to think - I need a president to keep my, and Americans as a whole, best interests forefront and executing his office to safeguard the best conditions for us to thrive.

  • Gray_Jay||

    Um what, the guy absolutely is a populist: "a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups."

    Christ, that's Trump in a nutshell. He's a populist far more than he's a Republican.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    That was not as effective as your other recent posts at capturing the spirit of Palin's Buttplug. PB would have used the word "greasy" and reminded everyone that the more affluent people are, the more likely they are to vote Democrat.

    You can do better.


  • moneyshot||

    Apparently the departure of The Buttplug has left a void in your life.

  • Sevo||

    The departure of turd has raised the intelligence and honesty level here by a measurable amount. Few out side of trueman and Tony lie as much as turd did.
    We are all better people for him not polluting the forum; may he stay away forever.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Did PB die?

  • MattXIV||

    Identity politics prospers because it is good politics - organizing a political coalition along low-mutability traits reduces the defection risk. Doesn't matter if it is good for society or whatever - as long as it is good for obtaining political power you're going to get more of it and I'm yet to see a compelling argument that it is politically disadvantageous.

  • Ray McKigney||

    But if we were interested in what's politically advantageous, we wouldn't be libertarians.

  • M.L.||

    Who's really unmaking America? Let's start with the media.

    Political Journalists Are Trying To Gaslight America

  • Ray McKigney||

    Few things illustrate that better than the effort to explain away or (preferably) hide Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal plank about providing income for those unwilling to work.

  • ||

    Waving the bloody shirt is an ancient and hallowed political pastime. It can get unwise idealists in a lot of trouble. Take the revolt of the Paris Commune. Bunch of cosmopolitans had too much time to sit in cafes and talk over Big Ideas. Thought the rural people of France were a bunch of hayseeds, dragging social progress backwards. Got all fired up, rushed to the barricades. Here comes the French army down the street, with cannon. Seems to be a bunch of rural people in uniforms that are the best clothing they've ever had.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Somebody needs to buy larger knickers, these are pinching.

  • TJJ2000||

    OH LOOK! Another leftist trying to peg their VERY OWN ideological problems on the right! Like that's anything new coming from leftist journalism.

    and.......... Poop holes are human sex organs they scream. The sheeple indoctrination and control continues with no bounds. We'll all just forget about the Obama Administration killing ALL local media that just wasn't Marxist enough for the DNC through some scapegoat of mandating "Digital".

  • AlmightyJB||

    Is it longer than 5 minutes?

  • Sevo||

    Is it worth listening to some bullshit I'd scan and bypass?
    Transcript or STFU.
    You $2 donation is falling fast.


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